Denver Aims To Close Overflow Homeless Shelter

One of Denver's largest homeless shelters, an overflow facility in Montbello that serves as a backup to shelters downtown, may soon close its doors.

And, Westword reports in a long piece this week, the city hasn't yet identified a replacement for the Peoria Emergency Overflow Shelter. But the city is pushing back on the alt-weekly's claim that the shelter's closing is a done deal.

Bennie Milliner, executive director for Denver’s Road Home, told CPR News on Wednesday it's not yet certain that the shelter will close. But he confirmed the city is looking for a more permanent solution for housing Denver's homeless.

The Peoria shelter was always intended to be temporary, he says. Now the hope is to shift the Peoria shelter building back to its intended purpose this May -- a 311 call center.

"We had the opportunity to occupy the facility while we continue to look for facilities and it has just turned out to be just a great opportunity," said Milliner. "We will continue to house the homeless. The option will be whatever's on the table."

City officials want the shelter's replacement to be a comparably large building with open space. Less certain is where it will actually be -- "ideally something close to the city," said Denver Human Services Spokesperson Jesse Granger.

No matter what, the city says it won't leave people without shelter options. Notice for any changes to the current shelter location should be available by April 1, Milliner says.